2020 Democrat Pete Buttigieg: 'My Face Is the Message'

By Susan Jones | March 20, 2019 | 11:19am EDT
Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - "What's the message of your campaign?" MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski asked Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old Mayor of South Bend, Indiana on Wednesday morning.

Buttigieg, like many other Democrats running for president, wants to change the Supreme Court and abolish the Electoral College, among other liberal policy positions.

But Buttigieg's answer had nothing to do with policy, it had to do with his physiognomy:

Well, look, the reality is, when you take one look at me, my face is my message. Right, a lot of this is simply the idea, we need generational change. That we need more voices stepping up from a generation that has so much at stake in the decisions that are being made right now.

That's why I often talk about how the world's going to look in 2054, when I get to the current age of the current president. It's to remind us that this isn't just about one election. This is about an era. The decisions that are being made in our politics right now will decide how the next 20, 30, or 40 years will go.

“Is Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, too old to be president?” host Joe Scarborough asked  him.

“It's not my place to say whether anybody else ought to be president," Buttigieg responded. "And look, let's be very clear. You'll see older candidates voting for younger candidates, younger candidates voting for older candidates. And that's fine -- that's good.”

Buttigieg noted that when he ran for mayor at age 29, he had just enough money to do just one poll that tested his attributes. "The older the voter was, the more likely they were to say me being 29 was a positive. I can see it in the faces, when I go to Iowa, when I go to New Hampshire. We've got a lot of young people, students, who are interested or excited about the idea of somebody from a new generation stepping forward.

"But really, it's people my parents' age, are a huge part of those who are really interested in this. So, you know, this needs to be backed up, obviously, with a substantive account of where I think we need to go policy-wise, but I also think totally and just historically, thinking about the changes that are coming to our country and the fact that, as for our city, the big challenge for our country is mastering these changes instead of pretending we can stop them and rewind them.

“I think generational change in our leadership can really contribute something on that.”

On the “substantive” issues, Buttigieg told the "Morning Joe" group that he would consider adding seats to the Supreme Court, "if it's part of a structure that depoliticizes" it.

"So the question isn't just, is it too conservative -- although I think it is,," he said. "The question is, how do we structure it in a way that it's not going to be an apocalyptic ideological battle every time there's a vacancy. That's why I've been really interested in this potential model where you have 15 justices but five are chosen by Democrats, five by Republicans--"

Contributor Willie Geist interrupted him.

The next policy issue was getting rid of the Electoral College.

"Absolutely," Buttigieg agreed. "It's gotta go."

He said he also favors Medicare for all, as long as there is a "pathway" to get there. "I would call it Medicare for all who want it," Buttigieg said, until there emerges "a very natural pathway" towards a single payer or Medicare-for-all system.

Asked if he supports reparations for slavery, Buttigieg said, "I haven't seen a proposal for a cash transfer that people would be able to come together around and view as fair. But I absolutely believe that we need to have some kind of accounting for the persistent racial inequities today that are there by design because of past and present racism.

“And so it means our policies and our policy interventions on anything from criminal justice to housing need to be designed in such a way that they're targeting those areas in our economy and our society where racial inequity, largely driven by the legacy of slavery – but again, not just something that came out of the past but something reinforced by present racial attitudes, where those are most persistent.”

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